Feel tired and have trouble losing weight? These are common symptoms of a thyroid problem

An under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism) is a relatively common condition affecting up to 12 % of people in their lifetime. According to the American Thyroid Association, women are eight times more likely than men to develop the condition and more often later in life.

The thyroid gland is responsible for producing two very important thyroid hormones- thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones are in charge of regulating our growth, metabolism and how we use energy.

The problem comes in when the thyroid gland malfunctions and we either have elevated hormone levels (Hyperthyroidism) or the levels are too low (Hypothyroidism).

Hyperthyroidism or an under-active thyroid can cause a huge variety of different signs and symptoms. While it may not be life threatening the condition can greatly affect your quality of life and many suffer from the condition when there is a very easy cure.

While thyroid cancer is very treatable with surgery and other therapies, it remains the fastest growing cancer in the United States.[/caption]

Here are 8 common signs and symptoms of an under-active thyroid:

1) Weight Gain or Trouble Losing Weight

Sudden and unexpected weight gain or struggling to lose weight is one of the most well-known symptoms of a low functioning thyroid gland. While many people like to blame a malfunctioning thyroid gland for their weight gain only a small percentage are actually diagnosed with hypothyroidism.

As we’ve already explained, the thyroid hormones are responsible for metabolic regulation so without adequate levels of the necessary hormones it is easy to put on weight even while you are eating the same amount of calories.

In a 2011 study, people who were recently diagnosed with the condition gained an average of an extra 10 % body weight over a year.

2) Feeling the cold

Our thyroid hormones are responsible for our metabolism functioning at an optimum level. One of the key metabolic functions affected by an under-active thyroid is our bodies thermoregulation, basically being able to stay at comfortable temperature.

This means that one of the symptoms of an under-active thyroid is feeling sensitive to the cold, more so than in relation to those around you.

If you’ve noticed yourself struggling with the cold lately, this could be a sign that your thyroid needs checking.

3) Hair loss

If you start noticing that your normally healthy head of hair starts to thin it may be an indicator that something is wrong with your thyroid gland.

Low thyroid hormone levels cause our hair follicles to stop their usual cycle of regeneration, unfortunately leading to hair loss.

The good news, however, is that as soon as the thyroid issue is treated the hair will start to grow back.

4) Constipation

While everyone suffers from constipation at some point in their life it is also more commonly associated in those with hypothyroidism. A malfunctioning thyroid can easily cause irregular bowel functioning, once again due to a slow down in metabolic functioning.

If you are struggling with constipation but have no other symptoms listed here it is unlikely that you have thyroid issues and you may need to seek specific medical advice regarding your constipation.

If there are other symptoms of hypothyroidism present then it might be time to start considering talking to your doctor.

5) Forgetfulness or loss of concentration

In today’s fast-paced world it is easy to dismiss this symptom as just another side effect of our busy lifestyles. If you find yourself having more trouble than usual concentrating and feel like you may have brain fog it could be that you may have issues with your thyroid.

The actual causes for why hypothyroidism causes these symptoms are unknown however in a study in the Journal of Internal medicine, researchers reported that low-thyroid individuals had increased difficulty in completing everyday maths challenges and exhibited poor memory.

6) Exhaustion

One of the most common side effects of an under-active thyroid is feeling more tired than normal. The thyroid has a major role in regulating our energy levels so without the necessary hormone levels, we can be left feeling wiped out.

The problem with the constant fatigue is that it can overlap into other areas of life very easily as sufferers often feel a lack of motivation. The end result is that these individuals feel the need to sleep more, but wake up feeling unrested.

Instead of reaching for another cup of coffee perhaps its time to evaluate if you could be suffering from an under-active thyroid.

7) Depression or just feeling ‘down’

It is easy to see how suffering from hypothyroidism can greatly affect your quality of life. It is not known exactly why sufferers often feel down or depressed but it is thought to be a culmination of a decrease in energy and overall vitality.
According to a recent study more than half of all sufferers of hypothyroidism reported feelings of depression and some participants also reported anxiety.

8) Low sex drive

While there may be many reasons for a decreased sex drive, hypothyroidism could be a potential factor. Aside from the tiredness, depression and lack of energy as a result of hypothyroidism (which would affect anyone’s libido), the physical lack of the necessary hormones contributes to a decreased sex drive.

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